US court says no internet access for sex offender Ahmadiyya missionary
A US court has put sanctions on a Canadian Ahmadiyya missionary not to use the internet for life in addition to imprisonment on the charges of producing pornography of at least five minor girls and sexually blackmailing them.
A probation officer would install computer monitoring software on any computer missionary Rana Luqman uses to make sure that he does not use the internet, the court ruled.
Maryland district judge Paula Xinis on May 15, 2023, sentenced Muhammad Luqman Rana, 33, of City of Vaughan (Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Canada headquarters), to 30 years in federal prison, followed by lifetime supervised release, for producing images and videos depicting the sexual abuse of children and for extortion related to an online “sextortion” scheme.
According to the judgment, a copy of which is available with the Religion Observer, Rana must not go to any place where you know children under the age of 18 are likely to be including parks, schools, playgrounds, and childcare facilities. “You must participate in a sex offense-specific assessment after paying its cost”, the judgment said.
The court has recommended to the United States Bureau of Prisons that the defendant participate in evaluation, treatment, and placement in sex offender management and sex offender treatment.
On completion of the imprisonment, the defendant has to face certain conditions of supervision imposed because they establish the basic expectations for his behavior while on supervision and identify the minimum tools needed by probation officers to keep informed, report to the court about and bring about improvements in his conduct and conditions, the judgment said.
The court has directed the convict to report to the probation office in the federal judicial district where he is authorized to reside within 72 hours of his release from imprisonment. He must not knowingly leave the federal judicial district where he is authorized to reside without first getting permission from the court. He must live at a place approved by the probation officer.
He is ordered to work full-time (at least 30 hours per week) at a lawful type of employment. He cannot communicate or interact with someone he knows is engaged in criminal activity.
He is ordered not to communicate, or otherwise interact, with all five victims either directly or through someone else. He is ordered not to have direct contact with any child under the age of 18 (except his own children). He is ordered to participate in a sex offense-specific assessment after paying its cost.
On the court orders, Rana has already paid US$21374 to two of his victims as financial compensation.
According to Rana’s confessional statement, from June 2014 to June 2016, he used a free online chat website to target adult and minor victims living in the United States and Canada to produce sexually explicit images.
Rana tricked five minor US victims, who ranged from ages 12 to 17, into producing sexually explicit images because they believed they were chatting with a male their age. Rana surreptitiously captured two of the minor victims changing in their bedrooms after they had accidentally left their webcam on after chatting with him, according to a statement issued by the State Department.
Once Rana had embarrassing and sensitive videos of his victims, he forced them to produce and send additional sexually explicit images and videos via both live transmission and to his email account. They did this out of fear that he would publicly post the videos he had previously obtained if they did not comply with his demands.
Rana’s victims were terrorized by him almost daily for months, and some for over a year, it said.
On a restitution request from two of his five victims, he paid $21,374 to two of his victims. This amount is arranged by the parents of the accused.
Requesting the court for a lesser punishment, Rana’s counsel submitted that Rana has accepted full responsibility for his conduct therefore he entered a guilty plea in this matter.
He said, Rana was a lonely and somewhat isolated child and had very little social interaction spending most of his time in front of a television or computer. The majority of his social interactions and relationships with those outside of his family were experienced on-line through MSN Messenger in his younger days. These interactions were exciting for him, he spent increasingly more time online, and socializing online quickly became his primary source of social contact, the lawyer said.
He did not participate in sports, hobbies, or other endeavors outside of school. He spent most of his free time in his bedroom, on his computer, seeking social connection in the virtual online world.
As Rana got older, he began reaching out to women and girls in the pattern of behavior that forms the basis for his convictions herein. The behaviors became habits and compulsions to connect, converse with, and engage in sexual interactions with girls online.
He felt mounting shame as he indulged in these addictive behaviors. The age of the woman or girl on the other end of the conversation did not matter to him, he said. His addictive behavior was indiscriminate.
The internet and anonymous websites like Omegle provided ample opportunities to interact with women and girls who were also lonely and/or prone to risky on-line behaviors and therefore vulnerable to Rana’s attempts at sexual interaction and control, the lawyer added.
He said, in all other respects, Rana has led a law-abiding, studious, and charitable life. He graduated in 2007 from Maple High School, Maple, Ontario, Canada. He attended and worked at Ahmadiyya Jamaat Canada from 2018 to 2021. He was married, generously charitable making cash donations to many causes within his Jamaat in excess of $20,000 over 5 years between 2017 and 2021 and he was a blood donor, he added.
Rana has been in various forms of detention related to this matter since 2017 when he was first linked to the KingCheetah email account. He was arrested in Canada on January 14, 2021, was held in confinement, and then released to home confinement on February 16, 2021, in the custody of his father and later his wife.
He was rearrested again on July 23, 2021, pursuant to the extradition request which eventually brought him before the court. He was extradited on January 25, 2022 and made his initial appearance the next day. He has been in custody since that time.
He has been confined in Lehigh County Jail near Allentown, Pennsylvania since he arrived in the United States. As such he has not had any visitors. Rana’s wife has since decided to divorce him due to the lengthy minimum sentence she knew he would receive and her need to move on with her life, he said.
The accused is a resident of Peace Village, the Canadian headquarters of the Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya. The alleged offenses took place between June 2014 and June 2016, when Rana was in the final year of his seven-year-long Shahid Program to become an Ahmadiyya Missionary at Jamia Ahmadiyya, a Designated Learning Institution in Canada.
The Toronto police arrested Rana on March 24, 2017, after receiving information from the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre in Ottawa. He was released on bail but later was arrested in January 2022 when another case of this series was reported.